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Night of the Monarch event celebrates successes on County’s south shore

More than a hundred supporters gathered at the Night of the Monarch event to celebrate Ontario’s first new conservation reserve since 1999 – Monarch Point. The South Shore Joint Initiative (SSJI) event last week also marked the fifth anniversary the County’s leading environmental advocacy non-profit.

“Far too many people across Canada and around the world experienced climate change first-hand this summer,” said Steve Ferguson, Prince Edward County mayor. “It’s clear that things are changing. And that our environment is vulnerable.

“The South Shore is a very special place. It’s rare, it’s beautiful and, even with protection, it’s vulnerable. From Soup Harbour to Long Point, Monarch Point provides critical habitat for 39 at risk species. I commend South Shore Joint Initiative for the work they’ve done and continue to do to educate and advocate for this unique area. The protection of South Shore lands and waters will benefit all of us in the years to come.”

SSJI president John Hirsch read greetings from MPP Todd Smith who was unable to attend in person.

“Congratulations to the many who worked collaboratively and advocated for Prince Edward County’s beautiful South Shore to be preserved from development. I appreciate your ongoing contributions to our Bay of Quinte community. I’m looking forward to working with you as the management plan is put into place, and to hearing about future projects to maintain our naturally green shoreline.”

Hirsch added that “While the fight to keep the County free of industrial wind turbines initially brought many of us together, five years later, it’s astonishing what we’ve accomplished.

“We’ve hosted South Shore Strolls and events such as Wild Thing, engaged experts to teach us about the area’s geology, history, wetlands, birds and dark sky potential.

“We’re restoring Hudgin Log House and working to create a field centre. Cheryl Anderson talked about the South Shore Key Biodiversity Area for the 2022 United Nations COP15 conference. And we’re collaborating to advance education about the history of the commercial fishery, cultural heritage, lighthouses and so much more.”

Elizabeth Crombie, with Nancy Griffin and Amy-Bodman

The Night of the Monarch event raised $10,000 while bringing together a wide range of active supporters including event sponsors Elizabeth Crombie Real Estate Team, Magpie Clothing Essentials and Prince Edward County Field Naturalists.

In addition, 20 local wineries, cideries and breweries generously donated beverages and guests enjoyed a seasonal dinner by the Kaleidoscope Catering team. Entertainment was provided by comedians Lenny Epstein and Gavin North as well as musicians Jenica Hammet, Mark Despault, Michelle Found and MaryKay Morris.

“This evening couldn’t have happened without the efforts of many dedicated and hardworking volunteers who were led by Cheryl Anderson,” added Geoff Craig, SSJI director and Footpath project lead. “South Shore Joint Initiative would also like thank the 34 amazing Art Extravaganza artists whose works brought colour and beauty to the event. We deeply appreciate your support and donation of 70 per cent of the proceeds of the sale of your amazing art. To preview remaining available artworks, visit us at ssji.ca.”

Myrna Wood with Frank-Morahan and Cheryl-Anderson

Craig also thanked talented quilters Myrna Wood and Paula Peel who created the Hudgin Log House quilt for silent auction. He also thanked Dick Bird, who built his 35th handmade cedar/canvas canoe and donated it for a raffle in support of Hudgin Log House restoration.

“The permanent protection of Monarch Point is just the beginning for us,” added Hirsch. “A team of volunteers is now exploring opportunities to build a footpath from Point Petre to Point Traverse. Our Species at Risk Guide – available at Books & Co and ssji.ca – is educating people about biodiversity. Restoration work on Hudgin Log House made great progress this summer. Next, we’re starting work on projects that support each of our five strategic initiatives.”

On behalf of the board, local, provincial and national partners, Hirsch thanked everyone in attendance and SSJI’s 1,300 supporters for helping to create the future of the County’s South Shore.

The SSJI was established in 2018 with a vision for a permanently protected Prince Edward County South Shore where biodiversity and people thrive.

The organization’s mission is to educate and advocate for the protection, preservation and restoration of South Shore lands and waters. SSJI includes nine County, provincial and national environmental organizations. Click here to visit the SSJI website.

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